Let’s talk about grace and how we need to forgive ourselves where our children are concerned. Our babies are our most precious treasures. Psalm 127:3 says children are a gift from the Lord, a reward from a mother’s womb.
For me, those rewards are 3 precious boys 20, 15 and 10. Speaking of the reward from my womb 2 of them were over 9 and 1/2 pounds! In my journey I have discovered the ‘mom mind’ and how guilt and grace play a part. Do you have a guilty mom mind full of blame, condemnation and disappointment? A mindset where we take on all of our children’s mistakes, short-comings and faults?
That note from the teacher is a direct reflection of my bad parenting or worse, my bad child. This mom mind can then turn into contempt for your own child. “Why can’t you be like your brother, your sister, your friend?” What is wrong with you? Does any of this sound familiar? Well, to me it does. I had a guilty mom mind for many years. My son who is 20 was diagnosed with Asperger’s which is high functioning autism a year ago. Our struggle was very hard in school. He is brilliant but he couldn’t turn in projects or homework. I was completely frustrated and at my wits end! His teachers labeled him as lazy and unmotivated. I took him to psychologists, psychiatrists and had him tested for all sorts of things. No one ever suggested Asperger’s.
But our God knew just how special he had created Jacob even if the rest of us didn’t. A week before Christmas last year when my son was at his last assessment for Asperger’s his doctor called to inform me she was taking him to the behavioral health center because he had planned to kill himself that night. Those words didn’t register. But I didn’t have time to process the situation. He was 19 and chose to check himself in. We got his Asperger’s diagnosis in the lobby that day. He couldn’t handle school and had quit going weeks before. He felt killing himself was better than continually disappointing us. I couldn’t visit for 48 hours. I HAD NO CONTROL over this situation. The verse that ran through my guilty mom mind that day was Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Trust me, He held me up the whole way! He was letting me know I couldn’t fix this and it was time to just be held. I don’t know if you have ever heard the Casting Crowns song, Just Be Held, but every single time I got into my car that song was on. He was telling me, I am holding you! Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to not worry about anything, instead pray about everything and thank Him for all he has done. You truly grasp what these verses mean when you can’t do anything but sit back, wait and trust God.
This has been my most difficult storm. But I can tell you I had a sense of peace like I never have. I felt His grace and mercy wash over me. Although we had to grieve those times we had expectations he couldn’t meet. I cannot get those years back! Bottom line, I was guilty of expecting this world’s standards of success for my child. I wanted perfection, straight A’s and acceptance at a great college. I should have given him grace. Loved him more and judged him less based on what teachers, others or this world expected.
When you truly understand surrendering to God’s grace and love you can finally forgive yourself. Galatians 2:21 says, I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! When we ask for forgiveness and repent. God immediately forgives us. He gives us grace through Jesus Christ. If we then in turn cannot forgive ourselves and continue our shame and blame game we are saying the cross was not enough. I could spend the rest of my life blaming myself for my son’s disorder, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I could live in fear every day, scared he may hurt himself. But I chose to change my whole mind-set from the guilty mom mind to a grace filled mom mind. I believe Jesus truly accepted me as I am and forgave me for all my parenting mistakes even though I didn’t deserve it.
Now, my grace filled mom mind is grateful, humble and gentle. I try every day to walk in the Spirit as Paul told us in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The Holy Spirit’s job is to conform us to the image of Christ, making us more like Him. When I look at my son through Christ’s eyes I see beauty, brilliance, compassion and pure love. I have had to dream new dreams and they are just ‘perfect’ for him.
So to all of you who are mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends please forgive yourselves. Unless we give ourselves grace we can’t give it to others and most importantly to our children who are our most precious treasures.